Being environmentally conscientious helps preserve our precious earth and can also save you money! Look at the appliances being used in your home on a regular basis. Are any of these appliances 10, 15, or even 20 years old? If so, you can bet your bottom dollar you’re spending more on monthly utility costs than you have to.
In recent studies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average family household is spending nearly $2,000 per year in utility costs and kitchen appliances are at fault for almost half of these expenses.
The EPA, along with the US Dept of Energy (DOE), has created a classification system called Energy Star. This system is designed to pinpoint domestic appliances that are more energy efficient, boost air quality and decrease utility bills. Although appliances equipped with the Energy Star label (EnergyGuide) can potentially cost up to 40% more than standard models, they can save up to half of the daily energy you use. So not only are you saving money in the long run, you’re helping to protect our environment for a better tomorrow and future generations.
Understanding Your EnergyGuide Label:
To help you better compare Energy Star appliances and make sure you’re getting the most efficient product, all Energy Star appliances are required to have an EnergyGuide label. This label shows you the model number and features allowing you to compare things like size and capacity, but most importantly, it estimates on average how much energy this model will use per year. It gives you a range to show you the least and most amount of energy used per year, and it also gives you an estimate of how much this model will cost per year.
Energy Star Models Standard Features:
Energy Star Clothes Washer:
· Uses 50% less water.
· Extracts more water from clothing in the spin cycle to help reduce drying time.
· Reduces wear and tear on clothing.
· Uses up to 40% less electricity.
· Up to $110 in savings each year.
Energy Star Refrigerators:
· Consumes at least 40% less than standard models.
· Up to $150 in savings every year.
Energy Star Dehumidifier:
· Uses between 10 - 20% less power.
· Around $30 in savings each year.
Energy Star Dishwasher:
· Uses half the water of regular models.
· Use over 40% less energy.
· Save $90 over the dishwasher’s lifetime.
Household Air Conditioner:
· Uses 10% less energy than standard models.
· Save around $250 over the air conditioner’s lifetime.
Save On Your Monthly Bill With These Energy Saving Tips:
If an Energy Star appliance is not in your immediate future you can still save money right now with these energy savings tips for each appliance in your home.
· Wash full loads and avoid using warm/hot water unless necessary.
· Avoid overheating by allowing a space of at least one inch between the wall and the back of the refrigerator. This will help air to circulate and control the temperature.
· Don’t place your appliance by areas that produce heat. Radiators, vents, heat ducts, stoves, and even sunlight from your windows can cause the unit to use more power than needed.
· Check the temperature of both your fridge and freezer regularly. Keep the fridge between 35 and 38 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees.
· Close all windows and doors when running your dehumidifier.
· Change your filters on a regular basis. A build up of dirt can hinder its performance causing the unit to use more energy.
· Keep it away from walls, furniture or dusty areas.
· Wash full loads of dishes.
· Only use standard options. Pre-rinse, heat-dry and rinse-hold are extra features that use more energy.
Household Air Conditioner:
· Close all windows and doors.
· Set your timer for temperature control.
· Select the correct unit for the size of your room.
Help us win the battle against our diminishing resources and put an end to excessive energy use. Invest in Energy Star approved appliances and you’ll not only save on monthly utility costs, but also reduce pollution and emissions into our homes and environment. After all, preserving our earth is everyone’s responsibility, what do you have to lose?
There are thousands of ways we can be ‘green’ and help do our part to protect our environment. From recycling old newspapers and pop bottles to donating used clothing and furniture, it seems there is a way to recycle or reuse just about everything.
So why is it many homeowners forget about recycling their old household appliances? When it comes time to dump that outdated or worn-out appliance, resist the urge to toss it in the dump and do your part to properly dispose or recycle it. As you’ll see, it can be as easy a phone call!
Bounty and Municipal Programs
If you need to get rid of an old appliance the first thing you should do is call your electric utility and see if they offer a bounty program in your area. These programs can give you a rebate for your old, unwanted appliances. Generally, these appliances do have to meet certain requirements and be in working condition to qualify.
You can also try to arrange an appointment with your municipality to have your appliance picked up or to find out where you can take them to be disposed. Find out more about these programs by calling your municipality or checking out the Environmental Protection Agency’s FAQ on disposing appliances.
Why recycle an appliance when another family can reuse it?
If you’re updating your home and have decided to get new appliances, you can donate your old appliances through various donation programs such as the Salvation Army. These organizations are a great way to get rid of any home appliance but they do need to be in working condition before they are accepted. If you’re interested in these types of programs, there are several options available here and here.
Disposing of Appliance with Refrigerants
Appliances containing refrigerants need special attention when being disposed. Refrigerators, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers all contain dangerous refrigerants such as Freon, which can deplete the ozone if not properly disposed. If you need to get rid of one of these appliances and they do not qualify for one of the above programs, check out the US Environmental Protection Agency for proper disposal.
Remember, never under any circumstance attempt to remove refrigerants yourself as they can cause you and the planet physical harm.
We all share the responsibility of keeping our communities and the environment safe and with so many options available, there’s no reason not to. So next time you’re thinking of throwing out an appliance, or anything else for that matter, make sure you stop and think about the safest and friendliest way to do so. If we all work together, we can make a difference.
For more information on recycling and proper household hazardous waste disposal:
Appliance Recycling Centers of America
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Natural Resources Canada